More research needed to support the use of brain training to protect against cognitive decline

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Published 7 January 2016

Lumos Labs, the company behind the popular Lumosity brain training programme, will pay $2 million to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for false advertising claims about the benefits of their heavily marketed brain training games.

The company claims that training with Lumosity games can, among other benefits, delay age-related cognitive decline and protect against mild cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer's disease

An investigation by the FTC has concluded that there is not enough scientific evidence to back up the claims. Lumos Labs has agreed a settlement of $2 million in redress and will notify subscribers who signed up for an auto-renewal plan between 1 January, 2009 and 31 December, 2014 to provide a means to cancel their subscription.

Dr Clare Walton, Research Communications Manager from Alzheimer's Society said:

'Dementia is now the most feared condition in those over 55 and people can be desperate to try anything that they believe might prevent it. Although playing these games is unlikely to do any harm, they can be expensive so it is important that consumers are able to make decisions based on reliable scientific evidence.

'Research to see if brain training can prevent dementia in healthy people will need to last at least a decade due to the slow development of the condition. To date, studies have been much shorter and while some have shown improvements in memory, we do not know whether these improvements would be sustained or would help to delay or prevent dementia.

'Alzheimer's Society is currently funding a research project investigating the use of online brain training in those over 50. If people are interested in taking part in this or any other dementia research project, they can sign up to Join dementia research online or by calling the Alzheimer's Society's National Dementia Helpline.'

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